Another major corruption scandal is driving the African National Congres into crisis. The ruling party of South Africa claims to be leftist, but is in fact right-wing. Although Nelson Mandela used to be a socialist, by 1994 there was little to nothing left of his plans to build a socialist South Africa. After Mandela left office in 1998, the ANC elected Thabo Mbeki a supporter of neoliberalism and austerity. Under Mbeki, the capitalistic politics of Apartheid continued. The ANC started to promote black entrepreneurship. Slowly a new black capitalist class emerged. Still most members of the 1% in South Africa remain white!
There is nothing left for the African National Congres. This party has betrayed the ideals under which it started its struggle against Apartheid. It is true that the communist parties of South Africa, China and Vietnam all called for a capitalist South Africa under ANC leadership, but Mandela should have rejected their pro-capitalist logic. Still he turned to the right-wing after 1990, embracing the capitalist system and ignoring the socialist ideals of his own Freedom Charter!
Two very important parts of the charter were never implemented by the ANC once they came to power in 1994. There parts said the following:
The People Shall Share In The Country’s Wealth!
- The national wealth of our country, the heritage of all South Africans, shall be restored to the people
- The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole
- All other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the well-being of the people
- All people shall have equal rights to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions
The Land Shall Be Shared Among Those Who Work It!
- Restrictions of land ownership on a racial basis shall be ended, and all the land redivided amongst those who work it, to banish famine and land hunger
- The state shall help the peasants with implements, seed, tractors and dams to save the soil and assist the tillers
- Freedom of movement shall be guaranteed to all who work on the land
- All shall have the right to occupy land wherever they choose
- People shall not be robbed of their cattle, and forced labour and farm prisons shall be abolished
The Wikipedia article on the Freedom Charter, mentions the fact that the ANC simply ignored these socialist idea. It is possible that Nelson Mandela had to compromise with the white racist establishment in order to get out of prison. His ANC may also have believed that with the collapse of the USSR and the turn towards accepting capitalism by both China and Vietnam, that socialism as a economic model could no longer work. This was not a uncommon idea among left-wing national liberation movements. Most movements that liberated their nations from colonialism, tried to build a socialist society. But all failed because they build on a top-down model, which was politically authoritarian and based on the Stalinist system of bureaucratic planning!
”On 11 February 1990, Mandela was finally freed, and in May 1994 the ANC came to power. The new Constitution of South Africa included many of the demands of the Freedom Charter. It addressed directly nearly all demands for equality of race and language, but made no reference to nationalization of industry or redistribution of land which were outlined in the charter” Wikipedia article
South Africa under the ANC was never socialist. Thabo Mbeki supported the new black bourgeoisie. People who became rich because of their good connections to the ANC. Still most rich of South Africa are white and the white population of the nation is still much wealthier then the black majority. Johann Rubert is the richest man of the nation with a net worth of 7,4 billion dollars!
2015 South Africans billionaires list
|World ranking||Name||Citizenship||Net worth (USD)||Sources of wealth|
|179||Johann Rupert||South Africa||7.4 billion||Compagnie Financiere Richemont|
|201||Nicky Oppenheimer||South Africa||6.7 billion||De Beers, Anglo American plc|
|225||Christoffel Wiese||South Africa||6.3 billion||Shoprite, Pepkor, Invicta, Pallinghurst|
|810||Koos Bekker||South Africa||2.3 billion||Naspers|
|847||Patrice Motsepe||South Africa||2.2 billion||African Rainbow Minerals, Sanlam, Mamelodi Sundowns F.C.|
|894||Byaruhanga Kimberly Junior||South Africa||2.1 billion||Jk Diamond Impex Plc, AfriProjects PTY|
These capitalists are the top 1% of South African society. Patrice Motsepe is the first black billionaire on the list after Johan Ruptert, Nicky Oppenheimer, Chrstoffel Wiese and Koos Bekker who are all white!
Since the rise of Jacob Zuma, political instability is growing. There are many factions inside the ruling class who don’t like his populist and corrupt politics. Liberals from the Democratic Alliance critize the growing corruption and organized crime, while the Economic Freedom Fighters attack Zuma on his abuse of government money. Revolutionary socialists just want him and the whole ANC out. Unfortunate most South African workers are still deeply loyal to the ANC for what it did under Nelson Mandela. This voter loyalism is what keeps the corrupt party of Zuma in power!
There is a urgent need to build a mass party of the working class against the alliance of the ANC, the communist party and the (bureaucratic) trade unions. This alliance has kept political power in the hands of the ANC as both the communist party and the trade unions called on workers to vote for ANC leaders. But none of these leaders (including Mandela) even called for socialism. None of them have broken the power structure of capitalism in South Africa!
The Workers and Socialist Party is a party that tries to be the voice of the working class. Founded by members of the Democratic Socialist Movement and mine workers after ANC leaders carried out the Marikana massacre. 47 mine workers were killed by South African security forces. The WASP was founded after this massacre with the intention to become a party for socialism. Although the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa stood up against the ANC and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, it has not yet called for a mass socialist party. NUMSA’s inability to build a workers party is a big handicap in the struggle against Zuma’s government. Had NUMSA’s rebel leaders joined up with the Workers and Socialist Party to build a mass party, it could have challenged the ANC!
Like in most countries there is a huge vacuum on the left-wing. Social democrats have moved into the capitalist camp and communist parties have either joined them or have dissolved into moderate socialist parties. The Economic Freedom Fighters led by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema were able to profit from this vacuum and won the trust of many black workers. However the EFF have lost its radical stand on many issues. The party’s position on nationalizations of the means of production has been watered down as the ANC became more friendly to Malema. They hope to win him over with a radical populist agenda. Should this work, the ANC would have a strong ally against the liberals of the Democratic Alliance!
This Democratic Alliance is the favorite party of white South Africans. The party is supportive of capitalism and wishes to privatize more state owned enterprises and promote foreign investment. Like all liberals they love a compete economy, were workers have to struggle against each other for the best jobs. This is what revolutionary socialists reject, because workers are not tools for capitalists to pick. But among the middle class, these capitalistic ideals win support. About 22% of South Africa voted on the Democratic Alliance in the last elections. Their base of support is extending towards the new black bourgeoisie as well as their traditional white supporters!
Still because so many blacks are poor, they tend to stick with the ANC. The lack of a clear class consciousness and voter loyalism results in the fact, that too many still vote on the African National Congres. If workers would understand how corrupt and capitalistic this party has become since 1990, it would be logical to reject it. But because there is not yet a socialist alternative to the ANC alliance, most South Africans think that Jacob Zuma’s party is left-wing. This is what the capitalist media has branded the ANC, a ”leftist” party!
What also needed are new trade unions of the working class. Unions who brake with the ANC controlled Congress of South African Trade Unions. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa made the first step when it stood against the ANC leaders. For that they were expelled from COSATU. Although NUMSA has the potential, it has not shown willingness to build a mass workers party!
The Workers and Socialist Party is fighting for the following demands:
• Nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy under workers control and management
• Free Quality Education
• Fee Quality Healthcare
• The election of all officials subject to the right of recall
• The election of all public representatives on the average wage of a skilled worker
Six billionaires together have a private net worth of 27 billion dollars. Just think what we could do with that money to help poor workers. This is why revolutionary socialists reject capitalism, we reject the billionaire class and the political parties who support them: The African National Congres, the South African Communist Party, the Democratic Alliance and others!